Hope and the Half Marathon

Half Marathon 2016Chris Spicer, Team CCO and CCO Board Member, recently completed the Chicago Half Marathon. He was worked to spread homeless awareness and funds for those sheltered at CCO. Here is an excerpt from Chris’ fundraising letter:

If you are homeless you face hard questions every day. Questions most of the people receiving this letter may have never had to ask themselves in their lives. Questions like, “Where will I sleep tonight?” or “How will I get my kids to school this week?” or “How do I get my family out of this situation?”
These are just a few hard and painful questions that you face daily when you are homeless. As I said earlier, questions most of us may never have to ask ourselves.

When we think of a homeless person many of us think of the guy asking for change on the corner or maybe on the train. These are the most visibly homeless people but they are not the majority. Most of the homeless population, you probably don’t even realize are homeless when you see them. They look just like you, me and our children.

I have recently had the pleasure of being added to the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Community Outreach. In the first meeting I attended I learned that the average age of a homeless Chicagoan is 9 years old. That’s right, the majority of homeless persons in Chicago are children.

I have also been able to help out on The Birthday Party Project that comes to CCO once a month and throws a party for every child sheltered at CCO that had a birthday that month. The kids smile and laugh and enjoy the cake and ice cream as much as my kids did at their birthday parties. They take the gift that is given to them and the expressions of joy brings tears to my eyes every time I help.

Today I got home from the running the Chicago Half Marathon in time to hear the sermon at my church. It was an incredible sermon on hope.

That is what the smiles on the faces of the kids at the birthday party were, Hope! Hope for a better future.That is what Cornerstone Community Outreach brings to every person it serves, Hope for a better future.
You can bring hope to the homeless of Chicago by donating to CCO through my Crowdrise Half Marathon page or my son’s Chicago Marathon page.

Hang Up & Help Out!

The Street StoreSearch your closet, dig through the basement, and join us at the Street Store this Saturday! The Street Store collaborates with local non-profits across the world to create a free outdoor clothing market. Donors can come and hang up their gently-used goods and our neighbors in need can choose from available items.

Bring your gently-used clothing and shoes to Weiss Hospital parking lot on Saturday, October 1 from 9-2:30pm. Click here to go the Street Store website and learn how this non-profit organization has helped impoverished people all over the world. All items remaining after The Street Store closes will go to the Cornerstone Freestore.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

Hunger Awareness Month

Hunger Slider - Copy“For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.”
— Pablo Neruda, Chilean Poet, Nobel Prize Winner

Join CCO in the fight against hunger in Chicago, where 1 in 6 people experience hunger and food insecurity. What is food insecurity? It’s when a person does not know whether they will be able to eat their next meal or meals because of lack of money.

At CCO, we are committed to offering nutritious meals to the hundreds of families and individuals who are sheltered with us. Food is a critical element in stabilizing a person’s health so that they are able to attend school, begin to recover from trauma, complete job training, access housing, and care for themselves and their family. In addition to our shelter guests, the CCO Food Pantry offers groceries to over 150 households each week.

Please consider making a donation to CCO today that will benefit those we serve and help them along the road to wellness. Click here to visit our donation page.

Can’t donate at this time? You can get involved by volunteering your time at CCO. We truly couldn’t fight poverty in Chicago without an army of valuable volunteers working alongside us. Serving meals, taking out the trash, cleaning, planting flowers, doing dishes, many hands make light work. Click here to visit our volunteer page.

Would you like to donate goods? Our CCO Free Store offers clothing and household items free of charge to everyone sheltered with us and many of our neighbors in need. The majority of the families and individuals who come to CCO for the first time have no income. Free clothing and shoes are necessary essentials. Gently-used items can be dropped off at 4628 N. Clifton Avenue in Chicago.

Are you an amateur athlete? CCO’s charitable fitness group, Team CCO, offers a fundraising avenue for those would like to run, walk, or climb their way to a better world. Click here to see what charitable fitness options are available to you.

Do you have a creative idea that will help people experiencing homelessness? Feel free to contact us at info@ccolife.org to make an inquiry.

Help Make CCO’s Back-to-School Bash Great!

Back To School

Are you interested in donating to really great cause? This Thursday we will be hosting CCO’s Back-to-School Bash! Consider making a donation today that will help cover the cost of backpacks, shoes, party and school supplies.

Over 150 children are sheltered at CCO with their families. Education is a stabilizing force for families experiencing homelessness. At CCO, we work with parents to make the transition to school as smooth as possible.Our yearly back-to-school event gives all our school age kids a chance to choose a backpack and supplies, participate in games, enjoy treats and listen to motivational speakers.

Kicks For Kids!

Back-to-SchoolKicks For Kids!

Over 150 children are sheltered with their families at CCO. Many of them leave CCO each morning and head to school. Will you consider making a generous donation that would allow us to buy a new pair of shoes for each of our school-age children? Help our kids start their school year off right!

Please donate today!

Fight Hunger with CCO!

Hunger Walk  2014Join us for the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk 5k! Each year walkers at the Hunger Walk provides CCO with a food account with the Food Depository that is used to create nutritious meals for those we shelter and groceries for our food pantry patrons.

This years 5k Hunger Walk will take place on June 25 at Jackson Park in Chicago. Each walker counts! Click here to register and don’t forget to use our agency code A00393 so you’re steps count for CCO and to ensure a free registration.

We hope to see you there!

Congratulations!

Successfully Housed Family!

Congratulations! It is always a joy to see one of the families sheltered at CCO moving from homelessness to housing! Our most recently housed family is pictured here proudly displaying the keys to their new apartment.

In 2015, 42% of CCO’s total shelter population is made up of children age 17 and under. 37% of these are minors age 12 and under. Providing safe shelter and working with the families that come to CCO is a critical part of our mission.

The National Coalition for the Homeless states that the average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years old. This number challenges a lot of the typical stereotypes that people associate with homelessness in America. Children who are homeless have special needs. Stability through on-going education, proper nutrition, and development through play space, can help lessen the burden of homelessness.

At CCO, we welcome homeless families of all kinds, mothers with children, fathers with children, couples with children, and three-generational families. Case managers compassionately work to assist families with school transfers or transportation, assessments and referrals for children struggling in an emotional or academic area, and assistance with specific challenges that may arise. We are privileged to take part in the successes of our shelter families. Consider making a donation today and be a part of helping to stabilize and strengthen the families sheltered at CCO! Thank you!

Home for Heroes

Glenn Kaiser

Glenn Kaiser and friends have put together an outstanding recording to benefit Cornerstone Community Outreach. The music was released on February 8, 2016 and 100% of donations will go to providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, and compassionate management services to the men, women, and children residing at CCO.

Here are a few reviews:
“Glenn Kaiser…the revered Chicago bluesman…joined forces to help raise funds for the Cornerstone Community Outreach…this leads to Kaiser’s reflective side shining through but it’s all done without sacrificing the vocal power and passion that has become the singer’s trademark…Kaiser on top form…worthwhile release… 8/10.”
– Crossrhythms (Lins Honeyman)

“I had to check out something new from brother Glenn who I’ve looked up to for 35 years. He’s like a distant pastor to me and a tremendous example to follow…This whole album is like delicious organic fruit. The good stuff without the pesticides of over production and empty lyrics. And it supports a great cause as well…Looking forward to soaking my soul in all of these songs for a while…Five Stars.”
– iTunes Reviewer

Click here to listen to the title track, “Homes for Heroes” and donate and download today!

End-of-Year Giving

Lydell

As 2015 draws to a close and 2016 emerges on the horizon, let’s carry the spirit of giving into everyday of our lives. Consider making an end-of-year donation that would allow CCO to continue welcoming and sheltering over 350 individuals in our family and single programs. It’s our privilege to take in homeless fathers with children, three-generational families, single senior citizens, pregnant moms, families with teens, and other families and singles who often find it difficult to get into shelters. We believe everyone has a right to safe shelter.
Click here to donate today. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible. Thank you!
Read Lydell’s story (pictured above) and learn how one outstanding father who went from homelessness to housing at CCO!

Unique Gift Giving at CCO

Merry Christmas

We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!

We have a unique approach to gift giving at CCO. Instead of giving out gifts to the children ourselves. Gifts are delivered to the parents of each family wrapped and labeled. They are then able to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. This simple shift in gift giving has really encouraged parents, which is especially important while they are experiencing homelessness.

Of course, parents aren’t left out! Many of our generous donors shop for special items that will make parents feel cared for over the holidays. One faithful donor has purchased new, fluffy robes for each of the mothers in our Hannah House program for years! This gift is always a hit.

Our single men and single women’s shelter programs always have a Christmas party that includes gift items, practical necessities, festive food, and music. The women even have a holiday talent show with singing, dancing and prizes!

We want everyone to feel loved and cared for. This is especially important as they experience homelessness. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered time, purchased new gift items, or financially donated to make the Holiday’s bright at CCO!

If you haven’t donated and you’d like to click here. Thank you!